OK, I must admit, for the first time, I’m a little worried. Typically this type of thing doesn’t bother me. Every time I hear the words ‘West Nile Virus’ in a news story or commerical I roll my eyes. I’m pretty sure I made a point of eating extra beef during that whole ‘Mad Cow Disease’ fiasco. Although I sympathize with the people affected by SARS, the media’s best efforts did not stop me from breathing.
It started a few weeks ago with the Propane facility explosion. I’m sure many of you have seen the footage of the giant flaming mushroom cloud that ravaged part of North York. Even though I live in North York, it wasn’t the explosion that worried me. It was the subsequent investigation of all the propane storage facilities in Ontario. Stemming from this investigation, eight (count em, 8 ) other facilities in Ontario have been shutdown due to safety concerns. Excuse me? So up until this point there were 9 ticking time bombs scattered around the province that no one was going to discover until one of them exploded. I hope someone gets fired over that one.
And now, Maple Leaf foods is doing a massive recall and advertising campaign to combat an outbreak of Listeriosis caused by unsanitary conditions at their Toronto plant. The ever-expanding recall list has now reached 220 products. With 50 confirmed or suspected cases, you wouldn’t think it would be of huge concern. The fun thing about the bacterium is that its long incubation period means that symptoms can begin to appear up to 70 days after the food is consumed. So, for the next two months I get to wake up every day and wonder if the sausages I had last weekend are going to kill me.
But, I’m not pissed off at Sunrise Propane, and I’m not pissed off at Maple Leaf Foods. I’m pissed of at the Technical Standards and Safety Authority and Health Canada. These agencies are charged with and paid for monitoring these companies and ensuring the safety of the public. Corporations cannot be trusted to self-regulate safety issues and enforce safety protocols. Despite what they tell you, safety costs money, and their primary concern is to make money. It is up to these tax-payer funded authorities to make sure that the public’s safety is continually monitored, instead of just waiting for something bad to happen to discover that there’s a problem.